Bedell Winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich Sticks up for Merlot and Chardonnay

The Revenge of the Clones

Back when the first vineyards were planted on Long Island, many people “in the know” didn’t believe our region could successfully grow European wine grape varieties like chardonnay and merlot. Forty years later, we have proved the critics wrong many times over. Today Long Island remains one of the most innovative and creative producers in the world of these two wines. Without these two varieties, the face of Long Island wine would be far different and in my opinion, much less successful.

Long Island has recently been criticized for producing too much chardonnay and merlot. Some have said these grapes just “aren’t sexy right now.” Although I don’t think one should need a grape to ignite his or her libido, I believe there is much to say in defense of a stable, long term varietal relationship. This is especially true when there is so much more to do, so many more clone/rootstock combinations to explore and so many more wines to make. The best is truly yet to come.

Any lover of Long Island wines will tell you that the wines we make today are better than what we made in the past. The reason?  Some of it of course is due to experience and know-how and an ever increasing understanding of our terroir. But there’s another big reason–clones.

Read Rich’s full post here

 

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Richard Olsen-Harbich is the winemaker at Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, N.Y.